Spice up Your Life: Here?s a good use for brown bananas, bar none

I hate to see food go to waste, so every time I see some bananas getting brown on our counter and I don?t have time to use them in some baking experiment, they go straight into the freezer with hopes that I?ll find some use for them soon.

Recently, I got the ?Why are you keeping so many baggies of bananas in the freezer?? look from Joey, so I decided it was time to thaw one and see what I could create before I was accused of being some sort of hoarder chimpanzee.

The recipe I decided to try was a bit different than most banana bars or breads, because it promised a dense, fudgy banana bar. The original comes from the blog ?Averie Cooks.? You can find it at http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/08/fudgy-banana-bars-with-vanilla-bean-browned-butter-glaze.html. I simplified it a bit for my version.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Browned Butter Glaze

Bars Ingredients
3/4 cup vanilla almond bark or white chocolate chips
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mashed brown bananas
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch salt

Glaze Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt
about 1/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil, spray it with cooking spray and set aside.

In a microwavable bowl, combine the almond bark and butter. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the almond bark is melted.

Let it cool for just a couple minutes and then add in the egg, sugar and vanilla and stir well.

Mix in the bananas.

Add in the flour and pinch of salt and stir until the ingredients are well-incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

While the bars are baking, make the glaze.

Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir regularly. Once it starts crackling, you?ll know you?re close. Cook it for about five minutes or until it?s a light brown color. (If you burn it, start over. Browned butter is delicious; burnt butter is super gross.)

Add the contents of the saucepan to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt.

Stir to combine. Add the milk a little at a time until you have your glaze to the consistency you like. If it accidentally get it too runny, add more sugar to compensate.

When the bars come out of the oven, pour the glaze over top.

Let the bars cool completely and let the glaze set up before serving. (I put mine in the fridge to speed this up.)

These were dense and delicious and an excellent way to use up leftover bananas.

I was also excited to make my own browned butter, because I found out it wasn?t that hard, and it made me feel just a little bit fancy, which isn?t bad for a recipe that started with thawing some old bananas from the freezer.

Now that?s one bag down, four or five more to go (just don?t tell Joey).

By Lindsey Young
Newton Now

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